The 27-year-old Williams, who rushed for 3,225 yards in two seasons with the Dolphins, told them this week of his decision before leaving town, a team source told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. His retirement after just five NFL seasons caught the Dolphins by surprise. The news was first reported by The Miami Herald. "You can't understand how free I feel," Williams told the Herald in a cell phone interview July 24 before boarding a plane in Hawaii and heading to Asia to begin several months of travel. Long ambivalent about life in the sports spotlight, Williams said there's no chance he'll change his mind, and he plans to file his retirement papers with the NFL on July 26 or 27. He told coach Dave Wannstedt of his decision July 23 and said Wannstedt tried to persuade him to reconsider "I'd love to talk to him and try to talk him out of it," Ditka said from Chicago. "It seems kind of foolish to me, but I don't know what's on his mind. You're just destroying a great career. He's a talent. To let that all go to waste doesn't make a lot of sense." He's not the first running back to retire at or near his peak. His friend Jim Brown quit at 30, Barry Sanders retired at 31 and Robert Smith quit at 28. But his decision was deflating for South Florida sports fans, who had been buzzing about the Miami Heat's acquisition last week of Shaquille O'Neal.